One South Africa has found hope & beauty in a home that looks after her incredible brother… at Pevensey Place, their focus is on providing assisted living to those that need it.
They believe that participation is the key to having an excellent quality of life. And that has made all the difference for Kiki & Tim & their entire family.
Here’s their story…
I remember as a little girl, around the age of 6, making a wish on the first star of the night. Now most children would be wishing for that new bicycle or the latest Barbie with the convertible car and don’t get me wrong most of my wishes consisted of such things, but this wish was not for me.
This wish was for my 5 year old brother Tim, that he could get “better”.
At this age I couldn’t really comprehend that Tim was mentally handicapped, and that this was not a condition that could be cured.
All I knew was that I wanted Tim to be able to come to school with me, to run like I could, to be “normal”.
I guess even though I couldn’t really understand what was wrong with Tim at that age, I knew that he was different and that made our family different, that made me different.
In those early years this difference became our norm and we grew up in a home filled with love and a lot of noise. As an adult looking back now I have the greatest respect for my parents who navigated our family of six (yes there were four kids) through the chaos of childhood.
And then I entered the teenage years where the last thing you wanted to be was different.
I guess I felt some resentment towards my parents because I thought they couldn’t understand what it was like to have a brother like Tim.
How would I ever bring a boy home to meet the family?
How family holidays became almost impossible because Tim didn’t like going anywhere he wasn’t familiar with.
On the odd occasion when we did venture out as a family, the uncomfortable stares from other people, the looks of annoyance and pity as Tim threw one of his very traumatic tantrums, the apprehension and inner dread that he just might embarrass me (us)!
I remember thinking to myself why did this have to happen to us, why couldn’t we just be normal?
Ten years later and I am finding the answers to these questions.
Tim is the glue that keeps our family together, he is the best of us all.
He does not live with regrets from yesterday or worry about the stresses of tomorrow, he lives in the now, in the present. He has a genuine love for all people and has the ability to brighten up even the worst days with just a simple greeting which usually consists of telling you that you smell like yogurt or like cows, or French perfume if you’re lucky!
Tim was given to us as the most precious gift, he’s taught us to be better people, to accept people for who they are, to embrace the things that make us all unique and to appreciate the small things and to live life to its full.
If we could live like Tim does just for one day, we would be the happiest people in the world. We would jump out of bed in the morning, we would sing and dance without inhibition, we would greet people with such love and warmth, we would laugh with real joy at the smallest things and best of all we would make every person we meet feel those exact same things.
A huge milestone in our families life was when Tim came of age to stand a bit more on his own, to get some independence.
The obvious choice was Pevensey Place, a place for cerebral palsied adults in our hometown, Underberg, where we as a family and as a community had been involved with over the years.
The land on which Pevensey Place resides, used to be part of a farm owned by Ralph Hardingham.
Tucked away in the foothills of the Southern Drakensberg, Ralph Hardingham, a local to the Underberg district and who coincidentally was responsible for establishing numerous schools in the same district, found himself mulling over what to do with some 84 hectares.
Having more than enough land to do his farming, he felt this section of his land could be put to better use and so placed an advert in the local papers calling for proposals.
Round Table South Africa and the Natal Cerebral Palsy Association heeded his call and so, in 1972 Pevensey Place was officially opened with Sani 152’s chairman – Ko Egbrink – cutting the ribbon.
To this day, all that were involved still believe the project’s success was due to Pevensey becoming a national project for Round Table at that time. Remarkably, a farmer’s goodwill to an urgent need for a settlement caring for cerebral palsied adults became a reality for the whole of South Africa.
Pevensey Place has now been running for 44 years. It is testament to the invaluable work done by Round Table South Africa and the value those young men and women can contribute to their communities when they pull together.
Through Pevensey, Tim has found his place in the world, a place where he is loved and accepted. Pevensey has given us the second greatest gift of all, a home for my very special brother.
Pevensey is desperately needing funding to help with the day to day running costs as well as build a frail care unit as many of the residents who have been there for over 40 years need extra care.
Every little bit helps and I am asking on behalf of this incredible special place for the South African community to help make this happen. Donations and more info can be found here.